Shelf-Talker: This Is How Authors Support Local Indies

Our love affair with John and Jennifer Churchman, authors of the wildly popular Sweet Pea & Friends: The Sheepover, continues to grow strong. John and Jen hatched a plan with their publisher, Hachette, to give Vermont independent bookstore a real break at being the only stores to pre-sell their second book, Brave Little Finn, by offering 1,000 numbered books well before the October 4th release date. All participating stores got 50 books, with the possibility of getting more if sales warranted. The Churchmans announced the deal on Friday around noon. By 12:01 my phone was literally ringing off the hook. By 2 pm I was calling John, literally begging for more books as I had blown past my 50. Selling this book has been so much fun.

First of all, I am struck anew by the deep affection people from all over the country have these sheep. It’s verging on massive fandom. Every call I answered Friday (did I mention that I was working alone?) began with someone with a southern accent saying “Hi.” And me answering, “You want Brave Little Finn.” Each caller acted surprised that I knew what they were calling about. Here’s the thing: Vermonters don’t sound Southern and we don’t get that many calls from the South, so it was a lucky guess that got funnier and funnier as the day wore on. At one point, I’m fairly certain that I was just answering the phone, “Flying Pig Bookstore, yes, we have Little Finn.”

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